'Schools are creating digital users rather than makers'

ICT education ‘is in the wrong place’ in the Channel Islands, according to a leading industry figure.

Mark Loane

ICT education ‘is in the wrong place’ in the Channel Islands, according to a leading industry figure.

Mark Loane, founder and chief executive officer of IT firm C5 Alliance, said the way ICT was taught in schools needed to be reviewed to equip the islands for the opportunity for digital diversification.

‘The curriculum has been inherited from the UK and they have admitted that it is wrong and there needs to be work done in redrawing the curriculum and rethinking how ICT is done in schools,’ he said.

Mr Loane, pictured, who spoke at the latest Chamber of Commerce lunch, said that schools were creating ‘digital users’ rather than ‘digital makers’ and criticised the lack of programming tools in schools.

Comments for: "'Schools are creating digital users rather than makers'"

Paul Beasley

Over the last 12 months there has been a sea change in the way ICT delivery is perceived in the UK. Mr Loane's speech has only mirrored the views of many on the mainland including Mr Gove the education secretary who scrapped the ICT curriculum in favour of three pathways, Digital Literacy, IT (MultiMedia) and Computer Science. This was done in January this year and since then many schools in the UK have been looking at how to deliver this new curriculum from September.

I have been working in Guernsey for one year now in my post as Head of ICT at St Sampson’s High School. Could I assure readers that we have already fully acknowledged the need for change in our curriculum delivery. As I write we have pupils who are studying programming skills in lower school as well as students developing programs and games at GCSE level. From September we are looking to offer Computer Science as an option for our current Year 9’s and we (the Secondary Head’s of ICT) have requests in at the Department of Education to have new program software (Scratch and Python) put onto the network for all schools in Guernsey to start using at all key stages ASAP.

I appreciate the motives behind Mr Loane’s speech and would welcome him to come and pay us a visit to St Sampson’s to see how we intend to deliver a 21st Century curriculum for the next generation of ‘Digital Makers’.

Mr Paul Beasley

Head of ICT

St Sampson’s High School

Guernsey

CharlieT

Outstanding!

Ray

Keep a beady eye on young boffin Ed or he'll have your job before you know it!

Ed

Ray

I'am now a part of the Grammar School Sixth Form Centre. Anyway, although I think these ICT courses are the way forward, I personally have little interest in such subjects- I would prefer to retain the good old traditional pen and paper.

Nor am I particular interested in 'digital medias'-they're for creative people. I'am not creative- I think its otiose trying to make work look aesthetically pleasing. I prefer the plain facts and writing down masses of notes on paper several times, personally.

Ray

Congrats on your move Ed

When I was a nipper we had a tortoise called Otiose as wasn't much good for anything really

Charlie T

@Ed

"Plain facts" and you use a word like otiose? Lol!

Mark Loane's comments tie in with Michael Gove's statements - the unfortunate thing is that they both appear to believe that programming is the (only) way forward and is a global panacea for the teaching of ICT. There's never a one-size-fits-all when it comes to solutions or learners. I can see an absolute need for training in programming, but maybe a term or two, learners need to cover the applications they'll be using in the workplace, in Guernsey that means Excel, Access and Word, but there's an increasing need for the more creative programs.

The vast, vast majority of learners will not end up as professional application makers. An idea of how a program is designed and built will (probably) be of interest, but it's the end use and end users that should still be the primary focus.

MP

I completely agree that programming isnt the only way forward.

What about information security? It's recognised that there is a shortage of experienced professionals and that there needs to be something done in that space as well.

blokeinlondon

" Guernsey that means Excel, Access and Word"

OMG! Thats not programming, thats just office donkey work. The future is creativity and globally scalable intellectual property.

We've got to develop a local industry capable of programming in android, iOS6, html, css, vb.net, asp.net, C++, SAS, MATLAB, Mathematica etc. But how do you start?

Well, modern phones are powered by ARM chips which are the evolution of the first BBC B micro computer. So as an education strategy get every child a cheap ARM board called a rasberry pi (cost £20) let them create their first game on ARM, then when they hit 6 form get them to create a sub £100 server from ARM cores joined together powered by solar energy or a bicycle. Voila you've created a work force with the tools to out earn the current generation while they are still at school.

Charlie T

@blokeinlondon Quote ” Guernsey that means Excel, Access and Word”

OMG! Thats not programming, thats just office donkey work."

Never said it wasn't - what industry do you think most leavers in Guernsey will be working in?

There's a niche for programmers in the Island, there's a niche for programmers worldwide.

I don't disagree with your point and plan at all - there's absolutely nothing wrong and lots to gain teaching material like this, as long as the qualifications exist and are fit for purpose. Unfortunately qualifications lag behind technology, hopefully the new ICT and/or computer science qualifications (and both Gove and Loane seem to have forgotten there's a distinction), will be flexible enough to take the incredible speed of change into account.

David

I have worked in IT for 20+ years. Like any career there has to be a spark of interest, and that is where education can help.

But IT covers so many areas that it is unreasonable for the education system even at secondary level to cover any area in enough detail. Development is extremely specialised and I completely disagree with anyone that believes that it should be taught at school. Rather if there is an interest get a computer club setup that will be far more productive.

For parents/educators who are looking to cultivate that spark you could do worse than checking some of these site out:

http://www.raspberrypi.org/

http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/projects/kodu/